Category Archives: Comic Books

The First Wave RPG in draft

I think I’ve made it pretty obvious that I’m a fan of DC’s First Wave comic series.  Well, I’m a pretty big fan of the concept because I am such a lover of the hero pulps.  The series itself wasn’t executed that well.

firstwave_sketchbook3

The Doctor is in.

I’ve previously posted write-ups of Batman and Doc Savage using the Savage Worlds core rules and the Thrilling Tales RPG.  When I created them, I just picked the abilities that felt right for that particular incarnation of the character.  Upon doing the math, they would be well in to Legendary rank which would not reflect how they are written in the comics.  I then re-created them using the rules from the Super Powers Companion and I was much happier with the results.  However, I didn’t care for how the extra levels of Attributes, Skills, and Edges that were bought are actual powers (with appropriate training type Trappings).  Not a big deal really but I would like a cleaner way of doing it.

firstwave_sketchbook5

He’s got powers.

The First Wave universe doesn’t have any major super powers (I’ll get to that later) so I have decided to go with the term Build Points.  Build Points are a pool of additional points used to purchase Attributes, Skills, and Edges. The newly purchased Traits are added directly to the character sheet for a much cleaner look.

A player would create a character the standard way via the core rules and Thrilling Tales, then use the builds points to further increase his Traits.  Build Points are spent just like Power Points from the Super Powers Companion.  This gives the feel of a ‘non-powered superhero game’.  This front loads new characters with greater abilities and still makes advancement worth something.

There are some characters in the First Wave universe that have minor super powers.  The first that springs to mind is The Avenger with his face molding ability.  If the GM allows it, a player can have pulp appropriate powers by purchasing the Arcane Background (Super Powers) Edge.  The power to cloud men’s minds and the previously mention face molding ability are suitable to a pulp campaign but should be very rare.  A power like flight wouldn’t fit the campaign (unless it’s a piece of gear like a rocket pack) nor would most other innate super abilities.  Work with the GM to determine what would fit the feel of the campaign.

How To Create a First Wave Character

  1. Create a hero using the rules from the Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition and Thrilling Tales RPG.
  2. Determine how many Build Points you get (WORKING ON IT).
  3. If powers are wanted, work with your GM.
  4. Purchase new Traits (and/or powers). The cost listed are the same as the Super Powers Companion. 2 pt’s per advancement for Attributes, 1 pt per level of Skill and 2 pt’s per Edge.
  5. If purchasing powers, use the Super Powers Companion and appropriate Trappings.

 

And that’s pretty much it.  The only thing I need to figure out is how many Build Points to assign.  The Super Powers Companion says 15 points for Pulp level and 30 for street level.  Since most points won’t be spent on powers, I’m thinking about splitting the difference and giving players around 22 Build Point.  Also since there are these added points I wouldn’t want a power gamer to jump in and max out his Attributes at d12, so a limitation of no more than one Attribute at d10 max at character generation is allowed.

I’m going to re-build my previous Batman and Doc Savage write-ups using the Build Points and see where that gets me.

As always, a work in progress.

Spider-Man (Icons RPG)

Spider-Man

aka Peter ParkerSpider-Man

Transformed

Prowess 6
Coordination 8
Strength 7
Intellect 5
Awareness 4
Willpower 7

Stamina 14
Determination 1

Powers
Wall-Crawling 7
Danger Sense 8

Webshooters
– Swinging 7
– (and so much more)

Specialties
Science, Technology

Qualities
Great Responsibility,

Background
XX

Notes
As always, a work in progress.

 

 

Captain America (Icons RPG)

CAPTAIN AMERICACaptain_America

aka Steve Rogers

Trained

Prowess 8
Coordination 6
Strength 6
Intellect 5
Awareness 5
Willpower 8

Stamina 14
Determination 2

Specialties
Art, Athletics, Leadership, Martial Arts, Military, Wrestling

Powers
Shield:
– Damage Resistance 10
– Ranged

Qualities
American Hero, Super Soldier Serum

Background
XX

Notes
As always, a work in progress.

Describing the Flash Dilemma in a Facebook post

 

A discussion came up about the Flash and he was referred to as Wally but was quickly corrected as Barry.  A non comic reader didn’t quite get what we were talking about so I posted this.

 

In a nutshell.

Barry Allen – original Flash died sacrificing his life to save not the world, not the universe but the MULTIverse in 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Wally West – Kid Flash took over his mentors role as the new (and arguably much better) Flash.

Sometime in 2009, Barry made his return to the DC Universe because “CSI shit is cool” (he was forensics in his day job) and Geoff Johns, DC’s head creative guy said so.

Flash forward (PUN!!) to 2011 and the DC universe under the guidance of Dan DiDio (said asshole), Jim Lee (good artist, shitty story teller) and Geoff Johns (good story teller but bad decision maker) decide to REBOOT the entire DC Universe again but this time conveniently forget to include the most popular Flash ever (he doesn’t exist anymore).

Moral? DC is swirling down the shitter. And don’t get me started on Donna Troy.

 

Am I right or what?

Golden Age Blue Beetle (Dan Garret and Dr. Franz’ relationship)

I have been thinking of ways to update some of the cool Public Domain Superheroes that are out there.  Below is an email to a friend that I sent describing the relationship between Dan Garret (The Golden Age Blue Beetle) and his scientist friend Dr. Franz.

In these Golden Age comic books they don’t really go too in depth with some of the characters motivations as to why they do what they do. What do we really know about Dr. Franz? He created the ‘Vitamin 2x’ serum and (possibly) the ‘cellulose chainmail’ Dan wears. Why would a druggist (old school pharmacist) know how to make chainmail out of plant fibers? Why would he help Dan? Well, I think I came up with a solution.

Dr. Franz (no first name known, yet) is Dan’s great uncle. We don’t know much about Dan’s parents other than his father was gunned down by a mobster and his mother died of the flu when he was a boy. In my version Dr. Franz is Dan’s mother’s uncle. Her parents were killed when she was a little girl and it was up to Franz to raise her. When she grew up, she met a nice rookie police man by the name of Michael Garret, fell in love, married and had a son they named Daniel. While Dan was still young his mother died which devastated both his father and Dr. Franz. More the latter because he was a solitary man, never took a wife and never expected to have children but he adored Dan’s mother more than life itself. The two grew apart and didn’t see much of each other.

Growing up, Dan idolized his father, now a detective who was investigating Chick Alonzo. Dr. Franz, a geneticist, went on to be a scientist and researcher for ‘Big Pharma’. He developed a serum, tied into a persons genetic structure, that would heal disease, and be able to ‘double themselves’. It was derisively referred to as ‘Vitamin 2x’ by his colleagues. Of course ‘Big Pharma’ didn’t want this to get public because there’s no profit in it and it gets shelved. Years go by, Dan grows up and joins the police force, his father gets murdered by Chick Alonzo and he creates the ‘Blue Beetle’ persona to go after him. This is the era I refer to as ‘Phase 1’ due to the pulp like plain clothes outfit. Dan and Dr. Franz reconnect at his fathers funeral. They both realize they are the only family they have now.

When Dan has his final confrontation with Chick Alonzo, he gets shot up pretty badly. While in a coma, Dr. Franz, frantic because he can’t lose another family member, goes to the hospital and takes a sample of Dan’s blood. He returns to his lab and keys the Vitamin 2x to Dan’s genetic structure. He returns to the hospital and discreetly injects it into Dan. Dan, of course, under goes a miraculous healing process and finds his strength and endurance effectively doubled. It’s almost like Marvel’s super soldier serum. This is the start of Phase 2, which I refer to him getting his armor and being a little more in the public eye. Also, it would start a whole other story line wherein the unscrupulous powers that be of ‘Big Pharma’ start enhancing their own subjects but without Franz’ help. And without Franz’ genius and morality to guide them, they really screw up.

I hope this makes a little more sense and have better motivation than ‘Hey, I’m just a kooky old scientist that’s going to help the hero’.

Buck Rogers

Nice outfit.

Flashback 1979:  Me, my dad, my uncle and my cousin go to the theater to watch a movie starring some guy named ‘Buck Rogers’. Being 7 years old I had no idea who he was and had no expectations going into it.  I ended up loving it of course!

As I got older and more into comics, movies and other nerdy stuff I discovered the 1939 serial starring Buster Crabbe, the original Armageddon 2419 story that started it all and finally Dynamite Comics fantastic take on him.

What got me were the differences between each version.  At it’s core, Buck Rogers is the story about a man out of time and how he copes in his new environment.  Although each version is recognizable, I always wondered why so many changes to it compared to say, Flash Gordon.  Here are some very basic differences.

Armageddon 2419: Anthony Rogers is surveying a mine in Pennsylvania when he notices a pungent smell and glowing rocks.  The cave collapses in on him and he awakens 500 years later (2419 AD).  After waking up, Anthony comes to the rescue of Wilma Deering who is being chased by Mongul Reds.  His name was changed to Buck for the comic strip.

1939 Serial: Buck Rogers is flying a dirigible with his young friend Buddy when they are suddenly caught in blizzard and forced down.  Not able to be rescued anytime soon, they activate ‘Nirvano Gas’ that so conveniently happens to be on their ship and are placed in suspended animation for 500 years.  They are found by two soldiers who use Ray Guns to free them from the ice.

Hubba hubba!

 1979 TV Show: In 1987 Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers is piloting Ranger 3, the last of NASA’s deep space probes.  In a freak mishap, he is blown out of his trajectory into an orbit which freezes his life support system, returning him to Earth 500 years later (2491 to be specific).  He’s thawed out by the Draconians and sent back to Earth with a micro-transmitter attached to his ship.

2009 Dynamite Comic: Anthony ‘Buck’ Rogers, a retired Air Force captain is testing a gravity drive he help invent in hopes of faster than light travel.  He is sent on a mission by the government to retrieve a space probe that contains DNA of Earth’s animals.  The drive malfunctions and he is slingshot 500 years into the future.  He arrives in the  year 2519 (The 26th century).  He crash lands on Earth and is found by Colonel Wilma Deering.  In this version they sort of rescue each other from an intelligent genetically engineered bear.

The Dynamite version stays truer to the original comic strip yet modernizes it for today.  They also have Buddy in the book who, like in the original comic strip, is Wilma’s younger brother and a cadet.  There’s no Twikki but the Earth Directorates’ Trans-Suits make the ‘Biddi-Biddi-Biddi’ sound and in a later issue you see Twikki’s head in a 20th century earth storage room.  One of the neat things about the Dynamite version is how it flashes back to the 20th century throughout the series before and long after Buck has already been lost to the future.  The stylistic designs of the trans-suit’s jodhpurs and forcefield ‘bubble helmet’, spaceships and weapons have a distinctly 1930’s look to them and are a great homage to the 1930’s comic strip.

I’m my own nightlight.

My only complaint about the Dynamite series is that it seemed to try and cram a lot into a few issues.  The Air Lords of Han storyline only lasted two issues and really felt like it was anticlimactic.  The original Airlord’s of Han was the sequel to Armageddon 2419.  My guess is the writer knew the series was being cancelled  and felt the need to tell the story.

I picked these up not long ago when ComiXology had a 99¢ and I’m glad I did because I enjoyed Dynamite’s take on him very much.  There are two collected trade paperbacks out and they will end up on my bookshelf.

I Can Totally Be Kyle Rayner For Halloween

Look at all the bling!

Yellow, Green, Blue & Orange

Red, Indigo & Violet

Green Lantern gets a … uh … c*ck ring.

Exclusive: Batman Year One Clip “Bruce Vs. Selina” With Intro By Benjamin McKenzie

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Watch a Deleted Scene From Captain America